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COCKTALES | Virata's classical Chinese furniture collection sold for a whopping $25M

Photo of Christie's NY auction stage at the Rockefeller Center showing a selection from the Virata collection.
The online news portal of TV5

A snowstorm and freezing temperatures failed to dampen enthusiasm for Christie's New York auction of the Virata family's classical Chinese furniture collection Thursday, generating over $25 million in total sales, twice the $12 million estimate.

A 16th-17th century circular incense stand made of rosewood turned out to be the surprise star of the event, selling for over $5.8 million against the minimum estimate of $400,000.

The centerpiece of the 86-lot collection, an 18th century rosewood bed with railings on three sides, went under the hammer for $3.6 million, against the $2-3 million pre-auction estimate.

A pair of horseshoe-back rosewood armchairs dating back to the 17th century turned out to be another surprise favorite, with bidders pushing up the price to over $1.44 million from the minimum estimate of $300,000.

The Virata collection is the heirloom of the late Marie Theresa Lammoglia-Virata, wife of the late Marcos commerce secretary Leonides Virata and mother of investment banker Juan Luis Virata.

"All the proceeds of the sale will go to charitable causes she (Mrs. Virata) particularly supported -- children in need in the Philippines, cancer research and ... a museum which will display her extraordinary collection of Filipino art and export Chinese art found in the Philippines," said Charles Cator, Christie's International deputy chairman.

Christie's helped generate pre-auction interest for the Virata collection by displaying selected pieces of the furniture on what it called a non-selling exhibition in Hong Kong last November.

Phinma wants Filinvest to stop using 'Enclave' name

Ramon "Boy Blue" del Rosario Jr. has found a new cause to keep his crusading juices flowing right after relinquishing his decade-long chairmanship of the Makati Business Club.

The chief executive of the Phinma Group, Del Rosario now wants the Gotianuns of Filinvest Land to stop calling their new subdivision in Las Pinas "The Enclave."


According to the grapevine, Del Rosario's Phinma Properties has filed a trademark complaint against Filinvest Land, claiming that Phinma's condominium complex, Asia Enclaves Alabang, not only has prior commercial right to the name but that Filinvest's new project could likely be confused by buyers and even the general public with Phinma's.

Launched in 2011, Phinma's Asia Enclaves is a cluster of 14 low-rise residential condominium buildings within a 3.5-hectare property beside the Hillsborough Village along the West Service Road.

The condo units in Asia Enclaves range from 54 to 76 square meters, similar to the cuts and target market of DMCI Homes, which also have Asian themes for its low-rise residential condo projects.

The planned Filinvest project, on the other hand, is a gated 10.5-hectare subdivision along Daang Hari offering residential lots averaging 350 sqm.

The Intellectual Property Office has set an initial hearing next month but this early, it looks like Phinma faces an uphill battle to have the exclusive appropriation to the Enclave trade name.

A simple Google check yesterday showed that there were at least two prior "Enclave" residential projects in Metro Manila: the RCBC mid-market townhouse project in Greenmeadows built way back in 2005 and another house-and-lot project within the sprawling Filinvest Heights in Quezon City, also by Filinvest Land.

Disgraced banker loses dismissal case

Disgraced banker Maia Deguito has lost the illegal dismissal case she filed against RCBC.

In a decision released earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Commission has upheld Deguito's termination for a number of violations of banking regulations that led to the hasty and irregular release of the $81 million illicitly wired funds from Bangladesh.

Deguito, who was the Jupiter, Makati branch manager with the rank of vice president, has also been ordered to return the RCBC-provided Honda Jazz she had obtained on installment or, failing that, pay the balance of nearly P680,000 for the car.

Money talks

o Evercore Asia, chaired by Filipino investment banker Stephen CuUnjieng, has been named the region's best independent advisory firm for 2016 by The Asset magazine.

"The award for Evercore is to recognize its ability to punch above its weight -- being an independent firm (versus the bulge bracket houses) -- and for executing notable deals in the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore amid the challenging environment," said The Asset co-founder and editor-in-chief Daniel Yu.

In the Philippines, Evercore advised Century Pacific Group and most recently Shakey’s for their respective initial public offerings.

o Recently retired UP president Alfredo Pascual is set to join the board of SM Investments Corp as an independent director.

Heard through the grapevine

ABS-CBN has revised its 2016 financial figures to acknowledge that at least one lucky executive, in what could perhaps be a golden handshake, has caused the broadcast network's bonus budget to balloon by a whopping P180 million from the previous year's.